It’s hard to believe the 2010-11 season is drawing to a close, but so it goes. Leagues in Turkey, Spain and the United States could be all shutting down for the summer (or, in the latter’s case, perhaps a good deal longer) within a week. A brief roundup this morning, then, of action in this trio of top professional basketball associations.
In Turkey, Galatasaray Café Crown defended homecourt against perpetual power Fenerbahçe Ülker, 97-93 in overtime last night, with an admirably balanced attack against the star-powered defending champs.
Eleven players scored in double figures in the game, but while Fenerbahçe’s headliners include studs like Darjus Lavrinovic (16 points, six rebounds, two blocks), Roko Ukic (18 points, four boards), Ömer Onan (18 points) and Sarunas Jasikevicius (12 points, three assists), Galatasaray got nice performances out of less-than-household names Ermal Kurtoğlu (20 points, three assists), Jerry Johnson (18 points, six assists), Joshua Shipp (14 points, 10 rebounds), Preston Shumpert (14 points), and Luksa Andric (10 points, four boards).
Despite their standing as the two oldest basketball franchises in Turkey, the 2010-11 TBL championship series represents the first time Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe meet for the title in the modern era. Galatasaray last won the Turkish title in 1990.
The best-of-seven series now stands at two games to one in Fenerbahçe’s favor. Game four is set for Saturday night on Galatasaray’s home floor.
Meanwhile, the Cinderella story of the 2010-11 ACB playoffs, Bizkaia Bilbao Basket, met with the big bad Barcelonan wolf … or something like that. Barça managed to hold off the Euroleaguer-killing no. 6 seed in game one of the Spanish finals, 74-64, behind Erazem Lorbek’s career night.
How incredible was Lorbek’s 24-point, seven-rebound performance? Beyond killing his previous ACB high of 18 and amassing an incredible overall valuation of 28 (for comparison’s sake, the next-highest ranking in this match was produced by Boniface N’Dong, whose nine points and 10 rebounds was good for a 17 score), the numbers show that Barça’s plus/minus was a whopping +24 while Lorbek was in the game and thus -14 without him.
Lorbek was the only Barcelona player to score in double figures and was seemingly the sole Blaugrana who had his shooting touch working: While Lorbek shot 9-of-12 overall, Barça’s remainder could manage a cold 19-of-52, or 36.5%. And the Slovenian’s normally sharpshooting teammates went just 3-of-16 outside the arc, including Juan Carlos Navarro’s 1-for-6.
The league’s official website also points out that Lorbek had totaled his previous ACB career-high 18 twice – both times against Bilbao.
All BiE knows is that, barring another such explosion from Lorbek in game two, mighty Barcelona could have their hands full with these scrappy upstarts – the fairy tale story isn’t over quite yet and Bilbao might still have a few upsets left in ‘em…
Game two of the ACB championship series will be played on Saturday evening at the Palau Sant Jordi.
And from the In Case You Missed It Department, here’s the NBA.com’s official highlight clip from the Dallas Mavericks’ 112-103 victory over
Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the Evil Empire the Miami Heat in game five of the big league’s championship series runs below. While Dirk Nowitzki fell slightly short of BiE’s Fearless Prediction figuring him for a 30/15, his 29 points and six rebounds lifted him to player of the game status over the triple-double performance by King Lebron James.
Even if the Mavs drop the next two games, surely Dastardly Dirk is a shoo-in for FIBA Europe Player of the Year, a trophy the German last hoisted in 2005, n’est-ce pas?